House Progress (And How Comparison Steals Contentment)

I love looking at bloggers’ house tours online.  I can get so much inspiration from them, and I often find it more inspiring than looking through the pages of Elle Decor.  The homes of bloggers seem more real to me — real people decorating real rooms in real homes on real budgets (for the most part).  I can relate to those more than I can relate to world-renowned designers designing multi-million dollar homes and then decorating them with seemingly endless budgets.

But sometimes even the blogger home tours start to make me feel insecure about myself.  I came across one this last week, and the room transformations were just beautiful.  But what amazed me even more is that they moved into their new home, and within the first year, everything was done.  The kitchen was renovated, all of the rooms were completely furnished and decorated.  Everything has a place, and everything was in its place.

And then the comparison crept into my brain.  You know, we’ve owned our house for almost a year (it’ll be a year in August), and as of this morning, this is what my house looks like.  There’s not one single room in my house that’s finished.  The room that’s the closest to being finished right now is the living room.

house progress 7-14 - living room

But that room is far from finished.  It still need the ceiling tiles removed, and will probably require new drywall on the ceiling.  Then I want to add wainscoting and wallpaper.  And the room also needs electrical work so that the light can actually hang in the right place rather than being swagged over like that.  Plus, it still needs accessories — those things that really add personality to a room.  And then the windows need help.  One needs to be replaced, one needs to be repaired, and they all need to be stripped, reglazed, and repainted.

The entryway is a mess.  I started painting in there, but then stopped.  I started taking the trim off of the door, but then realized I shouldn’t put new trim on until the house was leveled.  (It’s level now, but now I’m so focused on the kitchen that I havne’t taken the time to add trim to the door.)  This area needs wainscoting, wallpaper, trim, paint, new lighting installed, and general decorating and accessorizing.

house progress 7-14 - entryway

So those two areas are the most finished in the whole house, and yet, they’re only about 50% complete.  After almost a year.

And then the rest of my house?  Well, it just gets worse from there.  The room that will eventually be the music room currently holds our dining table, which continually gets piled up with junk since we still can’t actually put things away in our kitchen until I get the cabinets painted.

house progress 7-14 - music room

My range lives there right now, and tools always seem to land here as well.  The floor has been continually covered in dust (drywall dust, concrete dust, insulation dust, paint dust, sawdust) for the last three months, and trying to keep that stuff vacuumed up and mopped up is virtually impossible.

And we won’t even talk about the sunroom.  You can see my fancy window treatments in the picture above.  Don’t be jealous.

My kitchen has been torn apart for three months now, and this paint issue during this last week has me feeling a bit discouraged, wondering if this will ever get done.

house progress 7-14 - kitchen 1

I know it will get done.  I haven’t even tried to fix it yet.  My goal is to try to get everything taped and papered and covered with plastic today so that I can just spray everything this weekend.

But there’s a of it to do.

house progress 7-14 - kitchen 3

house progress 7-14 - kitchen 2

And then, of course, my breakfast room has become nothing but a dust-covered storage room/junk yard.

house progress 7-14 - breakfast room 1

house progress 7-14 - breakfast room 2

The only other area of my house that has even been touched is the hallway.  I did take out the big closet that made the hallway feel so small, and we put up new drywall on the ceiling, but that’s as far as Ive gotten in there.

house progress 7-14 - hallway

Nothing is finished.  Everything is a mess.  Everything is covered in at least a light dusting of drywall dust, insulation dust, and concrete dust.

So two days ago, I was feeling pretty down about myself, and my house, and my apparent lack of progress after almost an entire year.  But you know what?  I’m feeling better about it now.

I just started realizing that our situations are completely different.  I moved into a house that needed quite a bit of structural things taken care of, whereas it looks like her house just needed cosmetic changes.  I’ve done the majority of the work on my house by myself (with the exception of big things like the electrical work, installing the header in the kitchen, pouring the concrete countertops), where she has had help along the way (the help of her husband, at the very least).  I decided to start over completely in this house and not bring any furnishings or accessories with me other than a handful of small things, whereas she obviously packed up all of her belongings from her previous house and could quickly and easily furnish the new rooms with things she already owned.

In thinking through all of those things, it made me realize how comparison is a thief.  It steals our joy.  It steals our contentment.  And so often when we compare ourselves to others, if we were to scratch a little deeper just beyond the surface, we’d find that we’re actually comparing apples and oranges — two people in completely different circumstances.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this, except that I did wonder if my blog has ever made others feel that way.  I have people tell me all the time that they just don’t know how I get so much done, or how I can get more done in a day than they can in a month.  But are we comparing apples and oranges?  This blog is my full-time job.  I don’t go to an office job eight hours a day and then come home and work on my house on nights and weekends.  We don’t have kids that have to be taken to school, and music lessons, and soccer practice, and school functions.  I have quite a bit more time to work on my house than most people have.

And now I’m at the end of my random thoughts (Deep Thoughts by Kristi Linauer), and don’t really know how to end this post.  :-D

I guess I just wanted to encourage you to beware of comparison.  With magazines and blogs and Pinterest and so many other things out there to “inspire” us, comparison is always waiting just around the corner waiting to sneak up behind you.  It’s a thief, and it’ll take every opportunity to steal from you.  Very often, we have to make a conscious decision to choose contentment instead.

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Comments

  1. Charlotte says

    Well said. It is easy to get discouraged when comparing one’s life to another’s life. But while you feel that you haven’t accomplished much, rest assured that you have brought much joy and inspiration to others. Chin up girl, you are doing a great job!

    • Julie says

      I agree with Charlotte! We should not compare our lives to others and you are truly an inspiration to many! Besides – if you were finished – what ever would you do with yourself?

    • Josephine says

      I. also agree with Charlotte. You’ve created quite a stir in my imagination as well. There is a ton of things that need to be done in our house as well, but both my husband and I are disabled and we do what we can, when we can. Certain things take priority/ You have accomplished so much on your own Kristi. Don’t compare yourself to others, they do not walk in your shoes.

  2. L.Briscoe says

    If I compared myself to you, I’d lose my mind! Comparison to others is one of the worst things you can do to yourself, so stop it, lol. BTW, I have ceiling tiles in most of the rooms in my house and I choose to think they add to the vintage feel of the house. It’s all about perspective. :)

  3. Gail says

    That’s why I love your site. You are real. This is how those of us who do it ourselves have their house look at some point. Many sites have professionals do their ideas. I love when you have those moments we all have doubting our decisions. Those days the comments are many because we have all been there. Thanks for being real for the real people out there. A lot of us can’t afford those fancy designers and go thru the same problems you do. It’s nice to know we are not alone.

  4. Karen Harrison says

    Your right, comparison is a thief. It takes away your satisfaction and sense of accomplishment with what you’ve done thus far.

    But here’s the reality: you are basically renovating a house BY YOURSELF! When you think of what you’ve accomplished in the past (almost) year, it’s amazing. You have a vision of your home in your mind, and until the vision matches the reality, you are not willing to settle. What’s wrong with that? Nothing!

    And let’s not forget, real life intrudes, dang it. There are things to be handled running a household – can’t-put-off-until-tomorrow things. I bought some fabric to recover a pair to grungy Toms shoes, and I just did it over the weekend. The fabric was at least a year old.

    So give yourself a break. Pat yourself on the back for what you have accomplished, because it’s lovely, and impeccably finished.

    There will be charge for your therapy session today. ;)

  5. says

    My motto that I live by is this:
    The package may look beautiful on the outside but I (we) have no idea what the inside looks like to make the outside so pretty.
    I am not jealous, envious at all of others, cause quite frankly I don’t know what they went through to get there – good or bad. I’m happy for them and equally as happy because I know what my package looks like inside & out.

    Love reading your blog too and your progress

  6. CArol says

    Amen! A healthy comparison would be to compare what we have with those that do not have clean water to drink, food to eat, and a roof over their heads, like many around the world. We have so much to be thankful for!!:)

  7. says

    Kirsti,

    what do I feel when I read your blog ? I feel good. It gives me something I need very much and I start looking at your daily update as soon as I get up in the morning, even though I know we are not in the same time zone. I dread the weekends because there are no updates from you and your house.

    My children’s father tore the whole house apart before leaving almost FOUR years ago. And look at me now, still not done. It is depressing and it is hard. But like you, I mostly do things myself. And I have six kids to raise completely by myself, 100% of the time. I have no family to help me out (not that I need it, my kids are truly wonderful and very easy). I am also not working since I had two cancers and several surgeries. And money is often very tight, which I think is good sometimes. Hardship is what makes you stronger and I like that my kids know that you have to work hard to get what you want. They are learning so much, just by helping me with the renos. This is a big plus.

    Sorry for the rambling, hard few days. Can I just add that I would love for you to start posting yours fans questions again on the weekend ? I can send you mine, I am completely stuck on how to re-arrange my living room.

    Thank you for sharing so much with us. I know I am not the only one that appreciates it.

  8. KC says

    I’ve had to stop reading some of my favorite DIY blogs. I found myself adding up in my head how much money they were spending. I got jealous of the money tree in their yard. Then, I realized how ridiculous I was being. I do think the influx of DIY blogs is making some people consumer crazy. “See this beautiful thing I just bought, you can click on this link and purchase it too”. I’m trying to spend less. I’ve got 2 in college and need every penny we have.

    You are an inspiration though! You seem to be a very hard worker. You get more done than a lot of other full-time DIY bloggers.

  9. Carla says

    I totally agree Kristi. I have to get a feel for my home. If I hurried and got it done I would probably find things I would have done differently if I had lived there and considered more options first. We all have our own pace and we all make choices. We need to be content with ourselves. Take inspiration from blogs but don’t compare and judge yourself.

  10. Lorna says

    Kristi, just remember Rome was not built in a day. You just keep on doing you. I have been more inspired by your blog than any of the other decorating websites and you tube videos out there. Do you know why? Because you’re real. I can relate to you. I feel that you are like me and know my struggles and if you can do it so can I. Don’t compare, you are unique. Just keep on doing what you do best everything will come together in the end, and yes in real life it takes time. : )

  11. Lisa S. says

    Hey girl. Be proud of what you have started, are in the middle of and what has been completed. You are a role model for me – and projects that I slow down on and take my time are always the ones I am most satisfied by. Deep Thoughts by a fellow “under one year home owner that isn’t close to being finished on most projects”.

  12. Melody says

    Amen Kristi! When we moved into our home 3 years ago, I began looking at blogs for decorating ideas for our cookie-cutter home. That quickly escalated into an all-consuming desire to dive deeper and deeper into blogs/decorating, and wanting my home (and projects) to be done oh-so-fast. But, we have a small budget, and we have 3 children…

    It’s taken me a long time to pull back from the blog world and have two feet in reality, MY reality, where my kids need my attention, my husband values my attention (when he’s home), and just maintaining a home is a lot of work. I still love to DIY, but it can’t take all day, every day. Keeping this all in perspective, and not comparing, is such an important aspect. I remember you posted a while ago something about people in your area wouldn’t know the difference between this design or that. That’s my reality too. What matters is the people you invest in, not our surroundings, right? We can’t compare ourselves and situations with other people, because we will always find a way to set ourselves up for not being good enough. You are so right, it’s such a contentment stealer!

    I still enjoy decorating, and being inspired by others, but I have to remind myself that there cannot be a comparison–I will always feel inadequate. I need to count my blessings, and have a heart of gratitude as to what I have and who I have in my life. My focus needs to be on the people in my life, and not closing up my home until I deem it “perfect” or “done”. I’m always grateful for my friends who still find JOY in the mess of daily life, but can have a cup of coffee and laugh in the midst of the chaos.

    Your situation is unique to you, and your family. You have been given unique talents and skills, and an amazing work ethic! This is your career. Your husband supports your DIY prowess. Your are transforming your old house into an AMAZING home and place you both want to be. I am HAPPY for you and all that you are accomplishing (:

  13. says

    Kristi, I love, love, love your blog. I am also in awe of you. You might look at my house and think that is looks finished too but my house is only 8 years old and looked really good when I first moved in, without anything in it. I just had to bring my furniture in, paint and not mess it up. :) I can only dream on doing some of the things that you do–especially with fabric (those window treatments!) and building furniture and the meticulous finishes you get on them. Now your kitchen is just gorgeous–I can see it. I actually can’t believe all of the things that you have done in your house.

    I think that you can be a bit of a perfectionist and hold yourself to a very high standard and challenge yourself so your projects aren’t just “liveable and pretty” they are extraordinary. So they take longer and you know that spending a bit more time will get that results that you are looking for.

  14. Tara says

    Hey Kristi,
    You have helped me so much and don’t even know it, so you should feel encouraged just as you have encouraged me! For starters I ALWAYS read your blog, and I LOVE how you are so empowering. You have made me a better DIY-er and I have more confidence in myself because of you! Before I stumbled across your blog I always thought if I wanted something fixed or made or even put a shelf up (anything that requires tools) to ask my husband to do it. In my house growing up that’s how it was, to get my dad to do it for us. Since realizing I don’t need him to do it and I just as well can do it just as good if not better (because I too am a perfectionist), I have re-done an old dresser and have several projects I would have never even thought of taking on or thinking I could possibly do it without a “mans help”. So I thank you and tell you I LOVE reading your blog. I love that you painted your BRAND NEW floors. I love that you are so bold and I have wanted to do several bold things or things like painting an old antique dresser blue, but didn’t because everyone told me I would be crazy for “ruining it”. Truthfully its not about anyone else, its about you and what you love, who cares who doesn’t like your green cabinets, that’s just it, they’re YOUR green cabinets and you love them. In all I just wanted to tell you without reading your blog and seeing what is new and how empowering you are I would have not seen myself in a new light and I thank you for always being you and doing what you love and making it okay for people not to like your choices, because its not their choice, its yours and you are the one that will live with it. So thanks so much. I think your making great progress!! Keep on keepin’ on!

  15. Jennifer says

    You are so right. Comparison is awful for your psyche. Personally, I like that you show the reality of DIY projects. A blog that just shows a few glossy step photos and the finished product is nice, but misleading. I would much rather follow someone who is a real person and gets frustrated and has setbacks, because that’s how it actually goes when you start a “small” project. Of, course, they are never “small” projects, no matter what one thinks at the outset!

    What you’ve done looks awesome- keep it up!

  16. Andrea says

    yup yup yup… comparison IS a thief! If budgets had no monetary limits, wouldn’t the house thing be soooo much easier? Or would it? Then what? If only!!! I don’t know anyone who doesn’t deal with that struggle. I used to know someone who’s philosophy in life and I quote… “Throw money at it”. There are many reasons this person is no longer in my life. It’s unrealistic for the most part. It’s not me. It’s just not. I wish I could be that person who could make a decision in a split second and just know that my gut feeling is all good and I won’t spend that whole time agonizing over my choice and such details as if I could have saved more money or if it was the right choice or if I had waited would something better have come along. As for budgetary constraints and timelines- that’s just a fact of life and everyone’s varies. You’ve learned a lot already- you concluded hiring someone for drywall is well worth the money. Because your time is money too. It’s been fascinating watching you transform this house into your home. The conclusions you’ve drawn, the priorities you task. I love it. I’m so happy that you’ve come to peace with it. I don’t think a year is anyway unreasonable for what you are doing. I don’t think you can put a window of time on something like this. <3

  17. Wanda Pace says

    I “silently” follow your blog. This post is so good! You inspire in more than one way. Thanks!!!!

  18. Colleen says

    What I love so about you is that you are so real. You are never afraid to show your fails or admit that you are “just human” too.

    You have achieved an amazing amount of work in less than a year ON YOUR OWN.

    I must admit at times I was a bit worried that you would get it all done pronto AND THEN WHAT would we have to look forward to???

    There are tons of blogs out there explaining how to cover a lampshade, yours is unique.

  19. Jenny says

    You are absolutely right, Kristi! Just for what it’s worth … realize that you are NEARLY done with the absolutely hardest part of any house remodel … the kitchen!! Over the course of about 5-1/2 years, with 3 children, homeschooling, full-time job for husband, limited budget, etc. we have redone nearly every surface of our home, including major structural changes. However, what made a HUGE difference for us is that we were able to do the structural changes in our kitchen/living area and redo the kitchen before we actually moved in. So while we had plywood counters for a while, my kitchen (and sink!!!) were functioning before we moved in. At various and sundry times we were without heat, cooling, closets, bathrooms, bedrooms, etc. but the kitchen was always functioning. I am beyond thankful for that.

    Your patience and endurance through the last three months is commendable … and understandably exhausting. Once you get the kitchen finished though, I believe you’ll find that most everything else moves MUCH more quickly and with less disruption along the way. Hang in there! The finish line is in sight. :)

    And know that you ARE an inspiration. The “window treatments” in our dining room looked very much like those in your sunroom (except a valence version) … UNTIL your valence in the kitchen condo inspired me to make a fresh ones. And my table centerpiece is a black tray with herring bone bottom and white painted canning jars with jute glued around the top–also inspired by you. :)

    Little by little things will come together, one room, one space at a time.

    Blessings! –Jenny

  20. says

    I’ve been in my house for 9 years and we are still nowhere near done. My husband and I have done most of the work ourselves and nothing ever goes fast or easy. At this point some of the stuff that we did get finished needs to be redone.

    There are definitely days that I just want to give up and sell but when I think of all the work we’ve done plus the location we are in, I just can’t do it. So do what I do, sit back and look at all the things you HAVE accomplished and be proud of what you have done!

  21. says

    We have lived in our house for 14 months and I have painted the entire interior of my house on my own. This includes stairs, rails and spindles, doors, windows, and baseboards. However, I helped the hubs remodel our kitchen. He also repurposed two items (china cabinet and antique dresser) into built-ins for me. I can’t imagine painting cabinets as many times as you have. I would have called it quits and this is coming from the woman who has painted her dining room six times in the 14 months.

    I think you have made major headway in your renovating projects, especially since you are basically doing it on your own, with little to no help.

    You should be very proud of what you have accomplished in such a short time.

  22. Ellen says

    I am SO in your fan club. And you are great at learning from setbacks and taking lemons and making lemonade. Discouragement always leads you to a new insight or a plan. Your creativity astounds me.

    And, I would only add to everything you said that contentment is fueled by gratitude. And gratitude is both a result and a cause of not comparing ourselves to others. It’s always been interesting and instructive to me that our comparisons are almost always “up,” never “down.” I live just around the corner from one of the most affluent suburban neighborhoods in our metro area and used to drive past it everyday on the way to and from work. It is also a place where lots of unhappy things have happened. One day it dawned on me that I have pretty much everything they have; they just have more of it. We are both in the group which possesses the top 2% of the world’s wealth.

  23. Ruth says

    I am getting the idea that all of a sudden you looked at the big picture and got overwhelmed. I have been there in different areas of my life in the past. I know you say you like to things in random order but let me tell you what I learned in ” Financial Peace University”. I have since applied this theory to other areas of my life. Make a list of your projects to finish. Start with the room that has the least amount of work to completely finish. Then the next and so forth. When you get one room complete use that room to sit in during your down time and really appreciate your sense of accomplishment. And please, PLEASE, don’t get down on yourself. Like many of us fans of your blog have been saying for a long time, you are amazing! Your talents and ingenuity are admired by most!

  24. Lisa E says

    So glad that shortly after you were doing self-comparison, you attributed the timeline to the facts, such as doing so much of it by yourself. I once heard it said, “Before you are jealous, be sure you would want the whole package”, or something close to that. For instance, that house might be done, but are they in debt up to their eyeballs fililng it? Also, you built an ottoman from scratch. A fireplace surround. Lamps. I mean, how many people really do that?! Those certainly are not superficial makeovers as on so many blogs. We love you and your tenacity Kristi. Rock on. You can always count on us to be the wind beneath your wings because you are indeed special.

  25. Roxie says

    I subscribe to a lot of blogs and used to read them all everyday. I’m an empty nester…live in a beautiful 4 year old home and have a comfortable budget. We have done a good job in adding our own style to our subdivision home. I’m happy with it. What I discovered along the way is I have to make decisions based on MY LIFE not someone else’s. I love white and after seeing white couches on all the blogs decided I HAD to have one. Yes I love the look but the reality is ……I have a BLACK cat! So I spend everyday vacuuming cat hair off the sofa! I recently read on a blog that she keeps sheets on her sofa in REAL life and only takes them off when company comes or she has to do a “photo shoot”! I learned a very valuable lesson…do what works for you! All these blogs show beautiful homes…..use $1000+ cameras to take their pictures but only a few will admit that is NOT how their house looks everyday ! YOU on the other hand keep it real! That’s why I rarely read those other blogs anymore….but I read yours everyday with my morning Coke ( yeah I said Coke…never have liked coffee! ) So keep on doing what you do, the way you want to do it because there are a LOT of us out here in blog land that LOVE your blog! By the way your green cabinets are turning out just gorgeous ! One thought…do you think the difference in wood might be what is making the difference in the “shine” factor? I know it does with stain. I can’t wait to see them finished!
    Thanks for keeping your blog REAL!

  26. Ellen T. says

    I only wish I had half the ambition that you have to do diy. Congrats on your progress. You should be proud of all you have done. And taught us, your readers.

  27. Lindsay says

    Hey, you’ve inspired me completely! I’ve always wanted a green kitchen and I’ve been too scared to go through with it. Well, guess what? I just got back from the paint store with a big old can of awesome green paint! Because you’ve taught me that if you screw up or it looks like crap – who cares! Just start over and enjoy the process.

  28. Sue says

    A. Please don’t compare yourself to someone who ‘rehabbed’ a whole house in a year. They probably hired most of it done, had endless $$, nothing else to do or all of the above.
    B. Make a list of everything you’ve done in your new home, starting with the day you opened that front door – the list is long and impressive!
    C. Your living room, hallway and kitchen look amazing and within the next year you will probably complete all 3 – lots of accomplishments considering you’ve done 90% or more by yourself! Something to be very proud of!
    D. You rarely take a day (let alone a week) off to rest, renew or relax. I’d be dead by now if I worked as hard as you do. Give yourself a little break.
    E. I love your blog! You inspire me to try things I’ve never done and feel good about what I can do. Thanks.

  29. Jan says

    I love everything you do! I was just whining to a girlfriend this past Saturday evening about the same issue after viewing a beautiful transformation in her family room. She turned to me and said, “What are you talking about??! I’ve lived in my house for years and years and it’s taken that long to get this far. You’ve been in your house for less than a year!”

    Yes, I’m beginning to get it now. I hate things not being finished here either but we get tricked into thinking it should all happen overnight. I can’t pay to have trades people come in a nd transform everything for me so I just need to be more patient with getting things done. :o)

    I’m relieved every time I hear you say you took some time off to rest and reflect on your next move. You’re not a machine and you can’t keep going on 24/7 (’cause it seems like you do)!

    We all love you here and I appreciate your honesty and candour with us. I think we all have the same feelings you do and it’s refreshing to hear we’re all the same wherever we live (since I think you have followers from all over- I’m in Toronto, Canada).

    Take a few days for yourself and recoup! None of us can come close to keeping up to you!!

    Love you, Kristi!! XO

  30. Becca says

    Very good message! Whenever we are feeling envious of others, we must stop and think about all we have been blessed with. Gratitude is the cure for being discontent and envious.

  31. says

    There is no way you can compare yourself with another blogger having finished a total house remodel in a year. YOU are actually building so much of your remodel by yourself! I haven’t read any other blogger that has been able to do that. Most have very talented husbands that do most of the building and renovating. I know you have had a little help on some projects, but for the amount of what has been done to your house…it’s mainly been just you. I only wish I was half as talented as you are.

  32. Deb says

    Kristi, you are my inspiration that keeps me going on my house remodel. I too am doing most all the work by myself, with the exception of heavy projects like building the accessible porch which my carpenter son did. My husband is disabled and our house is 60 yrs old (in need of much repair like yours).

    On days, like yesterday, when I get so discouraged and feel like I’m getting farther and farther behind, reading your posts on your trials and triumphs perks me back up again. Loved seeing all your unfinished rooms and projects!!!

    Working on repairing the exterior siding and eaves right now. Felt soooo utterly discouraged when I came inside to rest and walked into an unfinished cluttered dining room, then the 75% finished bathroom, not to mention the 2nd bedroom crammed full of stuff that will be our new accessible kitchen … some day.

    Thanks for your blog!! You are AMAZING !!!!

    Sending you lots of love, energy and wishes for a productive day.
    Deb

  33. says

    You’re doing a wonderful job! I’m inspired every time I look at your pictures! I’ve been in my house 9 years now, and still don’t have it “complete”! But as I’ve heard it said, you never stop decorating your house; it’s always in transition. So I’ve learned to be content with what I have now, and look forward to things that I get to do in the future. I’m just so eternally grateful to have a roof over my head no matter how it looks! Keep up the great work!

  34. Ann says

    Whoa!!! What you have accomplished is amazing! Enough said. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You are the only DYIer that I follow because you are a real person making real progress while dealing honestly with the real problems along the way. I admire everything you do even when it is not my taste. Be strong. Be bold. Most importantly just continue to be yourself.

  35. julie says

    A couple of years ago I read this: “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle or end.” When I start feeling discouraged at where I am in my life I think of this quote and find comfort. We are all on different paths in the middle of different journeys. But having said that, I DO feel your pain, Kristi. I could have written your post today. I am a divorced middle-aged woman trying to fix up my house by myself on a small budget. But I have faith that we’ll both get our houses to where we want them. And YOU give me so much inspiration. :)

  36. TinaG says

    Hi! I am a long time reader, but this is my first comment. I love your blog and look forward to reading it every day. I have lived in my current house for seven years and my hubby and I are just now beginning to install hardwood flooring in our bedroom. We have installed it through out the entire house, by ourselves, along with many, many other projects. Don’t worry about the rate of your progress…you are doing great! Besides, is a house really ever finished???

  37. C.B. McDuff says

    I think that it looks REMARKABLE – lets be honest – the budget department isn’t the only thing that is on the table here – you are ONE woman – and as much as I love to call you my “Interior hero – Wonder Woman” – you are a solo person doing 99% of that work –
    You posted a blog the other week, that showed how much you made and or built in the living room – go back and take another look at how much you really have accomplished! In reality, your projects actually don’t take that long! The kitchen was the first real total gut that you had to do – and lets be honest – how many people could have made it thru THAT kind of work as a single solo renovator? You move at a pretty darned impressive speed – AND you get things done RIGHT! Not many contractors can say or even do that! How many nightmares have we seen on TV of actual contractors making a HUGE mess of things – taking peoples money – and doing a half a$$ed job? It happens all the time – and yet you are doing things the way they are supposed to be done on YOUR watch!
    Be a little be easier on yourself – you really deserve a LOT of credit for many JOBS well done!

    I was thinking about your ceilings and wondered if you have ever seen these tiles by Armstrong – we had them in our old house and not only did we love them but anybody that came into our house did as well – they come in two different styles and can be painted or left white – but they look just like tin ceilings when installed (I have pictures of them in our old house if you want to see them in a real life situation). They are super easy to install as well. We used the Wellington pattern and the left them white – but I’m sending the link for both of the tin looks

    http://www.armstrong.com/residential-ceilings/ceiling/tintile-1240-tile/14147-44552?img=roomSceneImage

    http://www.armstrong.com/residential-ceilings/ceiling/wellington-46-tile/14147-44878

    Don’t forget – chin up and be happy with your progress – not too many others could do much better as the lone contractor!

    :-)

  38. says

    Talking about comparison, I would have the goal : unpack boxes from moving after living in another house for a year. I didn’t even dream of painting or fixing it. Nope. I just wanted to have it unpacked after a year. Why a year? You ask? Well, I needed to see what clothing the boys out grew or what clothing I could still use.

    I love your blog. I cheer you on to keeping a positive attitude. Don’t pressure yourself so much. You are amazing.

  39. kelly says

    Ha! We may be reading the same blog! And having the same ideas — how does it get done so fast and how does it stay so clean with children? Those are always my two questions when I see blogs like that — and yes, I read more than one of them in that category. We have been in our house 8 years and still don’t have even one room in the finished column. :( And I am one of the ones who wonder how you accomplish so much all alone! How on earth do you lift things like kitchen cabinets? However, I must say that even when I experience a little house envy, I appreciate so many women putting their lives out there for me to glean inspiration. Even those of you I can never catch up to! Each time I’m inspired to do a little something, my home becomes a place closer to my dreams. So I keep reading and wondering and being a little jealous! I am loving your house transformation, all of the information you provide and your perseverance! I especially love that you love green — it’s my favorite color. It is wonderful to see so many projects in that color! We’re all in a different situation but moving forward and blessing our homes in the best way we can is the ultimate diy. Thanks for sharing all you do! Kelly

  40. Donna says

    I just found your blog yesterday and saw you fooling around with gold leaf on your green cabinets. As an artist, I knew I had found another one who loves experimentation. Then todays message which I so needed to hear. I recently started reading blogs when we were updating our kitchen. The blogs said white and gray paint. Stainless steel appliances and an island with stools. I did wood cabinets with beige paint, a penninsula and white appliances. It is hard to be true to your own taste and your message made me proud that I pleased myself. You go girl!

  41. says

    My dear friend Kristi…may I offer an idea…take it for what it is worth. When I go some place and see a superb clean and tidy home or I see a home that is a mess…covered in clutter etc. I do one thing when I get home: I turn on the music, put on my grubbies and begin to clean. At the end of my rant because my house is not super clean or my house is clean but in need of decluttering..I go at it and when I am finished I stand back and feel soooo good. You might just take a day and tackle the mess and clean and clean and clean…then you can look at it all and see what is really there…
    Just a thought….hangest thou in there…
    Gaye

  42. Rebecca B says

    I love this post- it speaks to me on so many levels! Keep on keepin’ on! You are headed in an awesome direction and I enjoy following along with you every step of the way! I do have a desk job, and two little kids, and we bought a fixer upper 7 years ago that is no where near being done so I tune in regularly to see your progress. I love the process and would not have it any other way, but I can totally relate to the peaks and valleys of a long project (and to wondering if we are nuts to take this all on instead of having a cookie cutter house and more money/free time). Thanks for taking us along the journey with you!!

  43. Brenda Pawloski says

    Kristi, if you could do that little before/after thing when you click on a picture you would be as amazed by yourself as the rest of us are.

  44. Lee Ann P says

    We’ve lived in so many houses in the past four decades, always moving up to a better space, but never have we lived in a house that was “finished”. There’s always something that we want to make better, and we never seem to get it all done until it’s time to put the house on the market. Maybe we’re part gypsy. Maybe we are just victims of adult ADD. Or both! I know when I get discouraged, it’s time to take a breather and work up a new spate of creative energy. You are amazing. And mostly working solo. Be easy on yourself!

  45. Molly says

    If it take one year or 10 years, you will still be able to walk around that house and know that it your blood, sweat, tears and love poured out in every nook and cranny! And um…you put in a support beam this year because you wanted to – that’s an accomplishment!

    And while I don’t compare what you have done to what I have, I am envious that is what you do for a living :) If I could, I would! But I do allow your accomplishments to inspire me to do what I can and want to do and I’m proud of myself for having done each and every one of those! Now if you were me, you have a little Friday Fun-day!

  46. B says

    I so enjoy reading your blog and LOVE your gorgeous living room. That “unfinished” room is far more complete than any room in our new “cookie-cutter” home for 3 years. I am inspired by you and what you’ve created … and I love your encouraging message. Don’t allow yourself to be disheartened. You are fabulous!

  47. Michele says

    Thank you for this post and pictures!!! We are, and have been remodeling our old house on a budget for what seems forever. I keep on telling my husband to keep his eyes on his own paper :P. We’re taking everything down to the studs in every room. This 130 year old house is going to look beautiful but like you I have to be content with the time it’s taking. What’s done is beyond georgous but then again there is something not done in every room. Thanks for the pep talk and making me feel so much better about my disheveled house. I love what you have done, keep on going. It’s going to be a treasure to live in :).

  48. Debbie says

    OMG, are ya kidding me right now! Glad you came to your senses and realized what it is exactly that you’re doing. YOU my friend are redoing this house by yourself ON A BUDGET I’m sure. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could move out, leave our wish list with a contractor, then move back in when it was just the way we wanted it? Some might like that, but I know you are going to be so much happier knowing that you did the work, you put in the hours, it was and is ALL YOU. I wish I had a 10th of your talent, totally envious! Chin you, you my friend are a winner!

  49. lor says

    I’m glad you had the revelation about comparison….because are you kidding me? You’re amazing and so inspirational. You’ve tackled a house which needed a LOT of work, and you not only decorated but you did significant structural work – pretty much on your own!

    I think all of your readers are bloody impressed with you, and you should be as well. You’re doing amazing work, and your situation is vastly different from others.

    Keep going, stay strong. You totally rock. :D

  50. Karen says

    I was tempted to comment at least half of the comments above by saying: absolutely right!!! But then I decided to add my own anyway to make sure that you see how much you’ve accomplished:
    in your wonderful home (and yes, a house is never really finished! but you’ve come so far already – nearly all by yourself);
    as an inspiration in DIYing (I’ve completed a Kristi-inspired project last week that to me was a big one and which you would have done in a minute I guess – and felt so proud!)
    and as an inspiration in philosophy as well! I’ve come to the same conclusion as you an couple of months ago and stopped looking at a lot of blogs and a lot of pinterest. By now, yours is about the only blog I visit, and I visit it every single day (I evn hooked onto fb which I normally hste, on the weekend you poured your concrete just to be able to follow your progress more closely). You are so REAL and thus feel so much like a friend which makes me write these comments which I’d normally never do…
    Please don’t be disappointed in yourself but be proud!
    Btw: I’m always trying to match my afternoon tea with your blogs, as I’m living in Germany and since cannot start the day with your blog but instead have an interesting afternoon break :) I nearly always read your blog before I get message in my inbox about it being online!!
    Have a lovely weekend without too much work – you deserve it!!

  51. Eileen says

    You, my dear girl, are beyond compare. You are the one blogger I faithfully check on Because you are doing almost All of it yourself. You are amazing. I read your blog and want to take a nap!!! My husband and I have been working on our house for almost 5 years, he’s a professional contractor with all the skills necessary to redo this house and it is Still all this time. You are doing it all. So pat yourself on the back, and read all these supportive posts. I think we all feel the same….in awe!!!!

  52. Betty says

    This blog is more like a community of friends. We follow your progress and are amazed at how one person can tackle so much on their own. I’m sure you would have many of us by your side working with you if we were closer geographically. But, since we aren’t, we are at your side learning from you and getting inspiration from you. People hire contractors with crews and live through chaos for months. What you are doing alone is amazing. Even with a crew, there is a specific order in how things should be completed. Since you are working on a whole house as cost effectively as possible, you will have some uncompleted areas. Accept it and continue down your list in order. As far as comparisons to others, look beyond the picture. You have no idea what has been thrown in the next room or garage in order to get a pretty photograph. It only represents one moment in time. Keep it up, you are doing fine. Create a list of all the work you have already done and add the to-do list in the order that it should be completed. Seeing your progress in writing will make you feel so much better.

  53. Cindy says

    Do you think there’s ever such thing as a house being “done”? I know there are those in the decorating community who might disagree with me, but I find that for the majority of us, there is no such thing. Maybe if I had lots of money and lots of resources and lots of time, I could hire lots of people who could finish my house in one fell swoop. But I personally am limited on all those things, so we work slowly but surely. Sometimes I’m frustrated with that, especially in the middle of a frustrating project. But if I can talk myself down from the ledge, I find I’m just thankful and proud for what is finished.

    Plus, a house is in a constant state of slow decay, don’t you think? Just when I think something is “done,” there’s something that needs to be fixed, tweaked, replaced, or re-imagined for the constantly changing needs of my family.

    We have lived in our house for 14 years, and it’s not done. But I love my house. The parts that we’ve finished reflect our personalities and needs very well.

    I love this blog. I check it religiously. AND, I followed your tutorial for lined draperies to the letter and couldn’t be happier!

  54. Alta says

    Here’s a partial list of the things you’ve done in the past 11 months:

    Living Room -
    Floor refinished
    Walls painted
    Fireplace mantle built, tiled, and painted
    End tables built
    Ottoman built
    Sofa painted
    Artwork framed
    Roman shades sewn
    Drapery sewn

    Foyer -
    Floor refinished
    Walls painted
    Console table built and painted twice
    Lamps built and wired
    Mirror built

    Dining Room (future Music Room) -
    Floor refinished
    Dining table refinished
    Chairs refinished

    Kitchen -
    Old cabinets removed
    Kitchen reconfigured – moved sink, stove, and refrigerator
    New floor laid
    Floor painted – twice
    Wall removed
    Header built
    Half wall built
    Cabinets installed
    Cabinets remodeled
    Concrete countertops formed, poured and finished
    Ceiling removed
    Ceiling sheetrocked, mudded and painted
    Lighting installed
    Trim detail on cabinets added

    Hallway -
    Closet removed
    Sheetrock hung and finished

    Whew! I’m tired just reading that! You’ve accomplished so much in this past year! I can only imagine what you will accomplish in the next.

    It’s not unusual to get discouraged at times, especially when the cabinet paint has you frustrated. You can’t be on a concrete countertop high ALL the time! lol. But, as my mother used to say, just “back your ears” and tackle things one at a time, and soon we’ll be seeing an absolutely FABULOUS completed kitchen.

    Onward and Upward!

    • Cathy says

      She needs to print this, highlite the word PARTIAL, and hang it on her fridge…or bath mirror–wherever she’ll see it every day. Well done, Alta!

  55. Judi in Tinton Falls says

    Okay, where did I put my soapbox? You have every right to your feelings, but I’d like you to think about the following: What have you learned in the last year? What skills have improved? Have you been blessed by your family’s help? Are there finished projects–not rooms–that make you smile? When I look at your pictures I see bravery, imagination, creativity and strength. We’ll probably never meet, yet if we did, the first thing I’d say to you is how proud I am of you. You are making a home, not styling something for a blog, and that is a process as ongoing and changeable as life itself. I think you’re doing wonderful things, and I thank you for allowing us to see parts of your journey. Off the soapbox–have a great day.

  56. Genelle McDaniel says

    The ONLY comparison you should be doing is your original pictures to what you see now. Remember, you are nearly done in what is the most difficult room in the house to remodel. You are amazing the world, so accept those accolades and realize how great you are.

    I love the journey, and will be a little disappointed when it’s over, except I know you’ll find something else to excite us.

    Love your progress.

  57. Lynne says

    Good post and so true about the comparison thing. All the comments (ok I didn’t actually read all 63!) are great too. You inspire me for sure and you can be really proud of your accomplishments. I too, look forward to your posts and can’t wait to see your progress, which I always find amazing. Don’t fail to take into account that you are a one woman show. I don’t think that anyone else commented on what a saint of a husband you have in Matt, so I will! It’s not easy for anyone to live with construction mess. I know that I tolerate it fairly well because I am always the one in our house who wants the improvements in the first place but it does get under my skin too. What a tolerant guy your hubby is. When counting blessings don’t him :)

  58. Kathie says

    wise words from ‘desiderata’: ” If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.”

  59. Linda says

    I’m right there with ya! I’m 2.5 years into my kitchen remodel and would love to say I’m done but I’m 85 percent there. The husband who started this project ran off three weeks into the project. I’m now divorced. It’s all good as I have completely re-designed the original plan. Time , my indecisiveness, money, or just being overwhelmed are my enemies . Your blog i touches many . Hang in there as it’s always darkest before the dawn!

  60. Lynne says

    Kristi your post could not have come at a better time! I’ve been wondering why I’ve been so unhappy with my house lately and I suddenly realized it was because I’ve been reading too many blogs! I love the inspiration I get from them – yours especially!- but I’ve also started thinking what everyone else is doing is better than what I have done. Everyone was going lighter and whiter with their paint colors and I did too. I kept wondering what was bugging me. Well, it’s the fact I miss color! I used to have red walls, and now they are off white. That may work for others, but it’s not me. Guess what, I just went and bought a can of the darkest richest gray color and I’m painting my family room walls with it! I think it will look amazing with all my off white chairs and sofa and my deep teal sideboard. I’m going to try harder to remember what I like! What floats my boat may not float yours but that is what makes the world an interesting place!

  61. designdreamer says

    “choose contentment” Well said Kristi! I like that.

    As I was reading your post, and looking at the pictures, I was reminded that YOU refinished ALL of those hardwood floors in your house, BY YOURSELF!!!!! That’s a huge accomplishment right there. And if memory serves, you did it the span of about a week!!! I could now add all the other accomplishments you’ve achieved, but my fingers would get tired typing all that – LOL!!!!

  62. Tracy says

    If you finished in August, what would we have to look forward to? Your process and your humor are the highlight of our day!! Also, being budget friendly is so relatable and creative. Thanks for sharing!

  63. JoanneS says

    There’s such a long list of things you’ve done in your home, there’s “wonderful” in every room! That’s what I see as a reader of your blog and someone who enjoys working in a similar way (doing things in the order that the creative drive takes me to). You are so right about comparison being the thief of joy. We always seem to be harder on ourselves than everyone else, and you’re no exception. You’re so talented and inspiring!

  64. Tana Jo says

    Your blog is a form of “contentment” for me. It allows me to peek inside your home and share your diy journey without spending a penny. You’re very talented, creative and a great writer. And really…is a house every really “done”? Home ownership and home improvements are really a constant “work in progress”. Keep the projects coming Kristi!

  65. Naomi Williams says

    You do realize that lots of us are comparing ourselves to you, right? I’ve been in my house just over a year, and have only done a fraction of what you’ve done. But…apples and oranges. My emphasis has been on the outside of the house: Converting the front lawn to a mulched low-water use yard, and turning the backyard from a well-manicured lawn to a farm yard with chickens, raised beds and fruit trees.

  66. says

    You can only do so much. Don’t look to those who have more than you or better things than you…look at those who make do with what they have and it will help you appreciate what you’ve accomplished in your life. Some people do not even have a house or one that they can call their own. So you’re blessed in that aspect.

  67. says

    It’s called keeping up with the Jones’. Get over it. I am getting ready to move out of my big family home after 23 years, and guess what, it’s still not done. Your home, like yourself is a work in progress, it will never be finished. Only a man would think you do a room once and it is done. That’s nuts! We are all constantly moving things around, or swaping things out. It is what keeps us from getting stale. You have been in your home less that one year and you have singlehandedly taken on projects that most professionals would shake their heads at. You are obsessing (doesn’t you mother tell you these things???). Stop worring about the next project and get the current one finished. I think you are procrastinating because you are having second thoughts about you color choice. If that is the problem, no one is going to judge, (well some people will, but who gives a flying you know what about them). Stop looking at Houzz and listening to your readers. This is your home, Make a decision, put your big girl panties on, damn those torpeodos and full speed ahead. You will feel much better when the kitchen is finished. If you are not ready to tackle the breakfast room then finish the hallway. Do a bunch of little things that can be started and completed in a day. It will make you feel better. Get those wing chairs outside and work your magic on them. You can store them in the living room until the dust settles. The first step is always the hardest. If you can’t find it in you to do all the taping and papering by yourself put out a call for help. I am sure you have friends and family and you know you have readers who don’t live too far away. It can be like a Habitat for Krisiti day with everyone bringing food and drink and a pair of helping hands. What ever it takes kiddo, no man is an island, so get it together and lets get the kitchen done. Blessings, always.

  68. Christina says

    Well glad I read all the way to the end because I thought I was going to have to come over there and give you a kick in the toosh! If you were my bestie I would have to take you out for a coffee a get some fresh air! Are you kidding me! You are amazing! You not only do all this for the most part on your own you take time to explain step by step the process so we might be encouraged to do the same, that in its self is a huge job! ! As you can see you have a huge following and we love you!
    Now, don’t you compare your beginning to others endings! You will get there… We are all here for you. If you need to express your feelings again you just go ahead. I will be here to cheer you on! Go girl!

  69. terrillr says

    All I can add to the comments is “DITTO”! I LOVE your blog and check it everyday. In fact, I usually check it last on my short list, so I can really read and enjoy vs skimming the pictures like I do some other blogs.

    And, I’d like to comment on your hallway picture above….. I absolutely love the view from the hall into the foyer/living room. I can see little parts of your vision, and totally miss the walls that are not finished. But, the colors that flow from the living room to the hall and then thinking of the kitchen – WOW!!

  70. Cathy says

    Kristi, Kristi —” stop this behavior and stop it now!” There, I’m done channeling my Mother. Make your peace with yourself. I couldn’t hang my own cabinets in my 30s now I’m hiring out my indoor painting because in my 60s up and down a ladder is more than I can take– at least while I am a full time nurse. I have to be able to take care of my patients. So I put in a few more OT hrs and write a check. So what? I had my kitchen done in ’99 and still don’t have a backsplash. My Fella’s Aunt said: “if there is dust on the mantle, it means you had something better to do.” My advice– print Alta’s list and look at it every day.

  71. MarySue says

    You are so right! Sounds like your house projects are accomplishing bigger things than just making a pretty home — they’re giving you opportunities to grow in wisdom as well, and to share what you’ve learned with others. We can all use a reminder about comparison’s thieving nature from time to time — Great thoughts! And I, for one, really appreciated getting a real life glimpse of your home! It a a relief to know you’re just a regular gal like the rest of us, and not SuperWoman!

    • MarySue says

      One more thing I have to add is that I was struck again by how breathtaking your Living Room is when I looked at that picture! The painting, the wall color, the sofa, the draperies! Aaand the gorgeous green console table in the entryway! And that mirror! And those amazing lamps! So many amazing things that you have done that you are able to enjoy every day!

  72. Emily Lee says

    Never commented on your blog before although I read it quite often. I love this post. Simply because it will help many others, including myself, feel that we are not alone.

    There’s a couple of sayings that I love: “Don’t compare someone’s highlight reel to your behind the scenes”, “Don’t compare your chapter 1 to someone’s chapter 20.” Sometimes I look at blogs and Pinterest and feel so demotivated about my slow progress. Then I have to remember that I don’t know the real story behind other people’s hard work too.

  73. Sheila E says

    I think this is my favorite post of all. I’ve bookmarked it and will refer to it when I fall into the same trap. Keep your chin up and keep on truckin’. And don’t forget how long it took your dad to finish the addition. ;)

  74. Linda Southworth says

    Ok, do you have a list of your “TO DO” and “DONE” on this soon to be remarkable home you are working on? That will help on the days you have just these feelings. There are so many projects and steps completed but so many left to do. AND the middle of dust and tear-up with it coming together just not nearly as fast as you would like. We are all will with you and know there will be an end to the “TO DO” and the last step will slide over to “DONE”! What a glorious feeling! You will get there.

  75. Donna says

    I would have to consider myself a complete and utter failure if I compared myself to others! I have lived in my tiny 840 square foot home for 28 years and am just now accomplishing some of the things I have always wanted to do. I worked a full time job and raised my children alone for the most part. My priority was making sure my house was clean and comfortable and my children, the 6 cats and a dog were healthy and fed. Only now that my children are grown – my baby will graduate from college next year – am I finally allowing my own wants to become a priority and I’m working on it on a 3 year plan! With the exception of the electrical work, I am doing it all myself. Finishing something I have worked on a long time gives me such a feeling of empowerment; like I can do anything!!! If I allowed myself to compare my accomplishments with those of others, I would be one very unhappy lady. I enjoy reading your blog and I learn something every time I read. Keep up the good work – you truly do inspire this old lady!

  76. Kim says

    Thank you for sharing your perspective. It is easy to compare and think we have errored in some way. You have done amazing things and will continue to. I KNOW you will!

  77. Sharon says

    Thanks for sharing that Kristi. We did a home reno ourselves last summer, not nearly as extensive as yours, and I went through every emotion in the book. Frustration, anger, overwhelm, joy, satisfaction….it felt like a roller coaster of emotions. I felt like it made me grow personally. It was very hard to be in my home and seeing everything unfinished and a mess for so long. And we weren’t even living there at the time, so I totally get that. And the most important thing I experienced through it all was perseverance. You will get there in the end, and imagine the satisfaction you will have from having done almost all of it yourself. That is not comparable to the other woman’s apple. I also see that you are a perfectionist, and not everyone is, so sometimes that takes longer. But I like that about you. The kitchen is almost done. You will feel so much better knowing that a room is done and the most important one in he house too. And don’t forget to get away from it all sometimes. I hope you are taking a vacation this summer. I love your blog!

  78. Elisabeth says

    Thank you Kristi. Yes you are right, many of the things we see can make us feel inadequate. Funnily enough I said this to my husband yesterday. And I know no-one ever is trying to make anyone feel that, in fact, the opposite I imagine. Everyone is trying to encourage people! To say, ‘Hey, if I can do it, so can you!’. But there are times when I just shrug and do feel inadequate because of the various blogs. But I would have to say your blog never has that effect on me. Because we all share your problems, your hiccoughs, your questions. You bring us into your mind and let us know that you question yourself, as we question ourselves. You don’t just show us the ‘Voila!’ moment; you show the grit that got you to it.

    In the past few months I’ve started reading blogs – LOADS of blogs – written by very inspirational women, all doing similar things. But I do have to say, that your blog is THE one I look forward to the most, because you’re so clearly one of the rest of us, working away, day by day, solving your problems and achieving your dreams. You really do give inspiration. Thank you for letting us all share your journey. :)

  79. Kelley says

    I just started following your site, not long ago. The “addicted to decorating” caught my eye! I too, love to decorate. I find myself lately becoming overwhelmed with wanting to change things up around our home. Always something needing to be done. My husband & I do most of our own projects, crown moulding, wainscot, painting etc. I thought for a quick moment about doing the concrete countertops because of following your site. You did a beautiful job & I know a lot of hard work went into that project. Your kitchen cabinets are coming along beautifully! Love the gold leafing! I think you are far more a perfectionist than myself…we painted our kitchen cabinets & added glass front & wainscoting to the cabinets a few years ago. It was the hardest job we ever did! Very time consuming, but worth it in the end. My mind plays tricks on me & I see what someone else has done & I consider changing the cabinets again. I really need to just be happy with the way they are. We are considering replacing some of our old carpet & laying some wood floors in our other rooms. Not sure if this 50 something old lady is ready to tackle the task along with my husband who has had a few back surgeries. The list never seems to end with projects on the home. I am learning to be thankful & trying to be content with what the Good Lord has provided for us . We sometimes get caught up in the “I wants”…FB & Pinterest, decorating magazines etc seem to pull us in on the “must dos”…I personally want my home to feel comfortable & not untouchable like some of the sites I’ve seen. Yes, they are beautiful, but are those rooms being used. Everything in its place & perfectly decorated. I find myself not wanting to follow these sites anymore. You are real & I know with time your house will become your home. One day at a time, and know we all admire your determination.

  80. Alex says

    I want to reiterate what so many people have already said, you really are an inspiration! Don’t ever stop decorating! I really admire your design aesthetic and work ethic, you’ve encouraged me to be bolder, and just “do”. Well done on everything you’ve achieved, you have accomplished so much, I mean, concrete bench tops! you’re adventurous and humorous and real. I love you’re blog, it’s the best one I’ve ever subscribed too, well informed, well written, thoughtful and dedicated. I can’t wait to see what you do next.

  81. SC says

    You inspire us all! You show us that we women can do! You take risks daily! Then, by example, you work THROUGH the natural and normal let downs, disappointments, fatigue. And now you teach us about the impact of “comparison”! We appreciate the insight and inspiration!
    Please add these accomplishments to your list!

  82. Cate says

    You are so inspiring! I subscribe to at least 20 decorating blogs, I have never, ever commented on any of them before, but you “speak to me”, you have me shocked at your talent and full of awe at what you’re able to accomplish, mostly on your own. I find myself commenting on your blog, all the time about your wonderful accomplishments, because I just can’t believe how amazing you are! Please never compare yourself to the others, you are one in a million!! Great job on your house…I love what you’ve done so far ~ and find myself logging into my computer, just to see if you made an update ;) You are AMAZING!!

  83. Sonya Moreau says

    I loved reading this post. You are spot on! We should all choose contentment instead of making comparisons… And you are right, we have so much to use – Pinterest, blogs, etc… to inspire us – and it is very difficult to not become jealous and make negative comparisons. The lesson you wrote about can be applied to many areas of our lives… It is a good reminder for us all. Thanks!!!

  84. JP says

    What a great post! I just love how you are so honest with us and at first, I thought, “How can Kristi ever feel inadequate?” because we are all in awe of everything you do. Your reminder to us to not compare is such a good one. Carry on.

  85. Rosie says

    And to think I found your blog of wonderful just because I needed to find the correct way to clean oil based paint out of an expensive brush….You go, girl!
    I’m renovating too, but I was a master plumber for decades so the bathroom was easy, refinishing floors and scraping my father’s gazillion paint globs not so much. ( he was in his 80′s, therefore, excused )
    Oh, I’m also out of cash for extras. But I got free paint from a foreclosed house cleanout!! Sorry to lose our neighbors, but gallons of good quality paint left behind were headed for a landfill. Can’t have that!

  86. Sally says

    I would try to finish a small project, like the entryway. Then move to another small project you can complete. Having things completed will make you feel better. It’s hard when so many things are in process to feel things are done. I looked at your living room picture and all I saw was how beautiful it was. I didn’t notice the ceiling, or the swagged light, or anything you see as undone, it just is stunning. Great job:) Call in a relative or two to help on big jobs if you need to, another hand can lighten the load of this huge overhaul you began;)

  87. Rose L says

    Kristi, I’m on the same journey as you right now, remodeling/renovating a very old home. I’ve been two years on the exterior and am one year into the interior simultaneously. My family is impatient with my pace but I’m not. If I do look at what everyone else is doing, I just feel happy for them that they are getting done what they want. I learned a long long time ago that it’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey. That seems to be true whether you are talking about raising kids, are a part of a marriage or relationship, following a career path or just DIYing. I’m getting old and I have a treasure trove of memories of all that I’ve accomplished in my lifetime both with and without help. I’m proud of my life, I’ve learned from my mistakes and now I just hope to keep living a productive life that makes me and mine happy. I would say that you just need to focus on the journey but maybe that lesson just comes with time. You have accomplished so much in this past (almost) year and I know you will look back on it with great fondness in time. You are blessed to have so much talent and the ability to do the things you want to do. Keep moving forward and being productive and you’ll always be able to be proud and hold your head up high.

  88. bonnie says

    Well said. yes, sometimes I can’t read your posts because you always get so much done. You installed a header, redid all your drywall, redid your floors in a blink of an eye. I’m just installing closet doors and it takes me two weeks and 10 attempts before they are straight and level.

    But all your ideas are sooo gorgeous, there is no designer out there doing the fabulous colors and prints that you combine.

  89. says

    As a designer and passionate DIY decorator I get overwhelmed at times with all the projects I have on my To-Do list. Sometimes I look at my dirty dishes in the sink, the walls that need touch ups and think about the projects that have not been started yet I get a little depressed when I see the mouth watering gorgeous homes in blogland and in magazines. The truth is, not too many of us live in homes that always look like it’s been ripped out of a page in a magazine, especially when we have kids, pets and well, a LIFE! Enjoy working on your home bit by bit!

  90. MaryAnne Looby says

    Hi, I’m a bit bored and hungry so I decided to reread your last blog. I wish I had a private plane at my disposal. I would fly down and help you clean up and whatever. By the time we got finished you would be so happy to see the backside of me heading out your door! I can’t tape in a straight line even with a wall. I talk too much and would take too many breaks and drink too many cokes (my shamelss addiction). I would complain about the heat (it is hot there, right), I would go on and on and on and make you just plain old nuts! I just thought I would let you know these things just in case you have a private plane that are willing to send. Ok, gotta go and find something to munch on! Peace out, as we used to say in our hippie days! Blessings

  91. Vicki says

    I love your brutal honesty. I love what you said about comparing ourselves to others stealing our own joy. You are doing great! I’m glad you realized apples are not oranges, too! All good work is challenging. That’s how we learn. You inspire me.

  92. Sharon says

    Hi Kristi! Thanks so much for this post. I too, love to decorate and DIY. I’m a single mom who works full time so, it’s a painstakingly slow process because I usually don’t have a lot of time or money to do what I want in my house. Don’t feel badly about not having your house done within a year! We’ve been in our house for 13 years and it still isn’t done. In fact, things happen so slowly around here that my decorating taste changes before I’m even done with a room! Everyone’s situation is different so comparing will only bring you down. It’s hard not to do it though.

  93. Sandra says

    Yes you are so right about comparison – it can rob us of our joy! I have read your blog for ages and I feel horribly that I have never commented. While I certainly enjoy decorating blogs, the actual reason that I read your blog is because you are simply the most REAL person in blog-land. Your projects are of course incredible and beautiful, but the true beauty of your blog is YOU! I always feel like you are talking to me like a sister would and are sharing life just as it happens, not manipulating us into believing that your life is perfect, You are the sister/friend that so many of us wish we had – the positive light that motivates us to be more honest, real people ourselves. Please know that you are appreciated and admired – a true beacon in blog-land!!!!!

  94. JC says

    Thank you for that beautiful reminder to be inspired, not saddened, by what we see on other blogs and websites. Also, I can’t thank you enough for showing us how the rest of your house looks. With three little kids, our house looks like a daycare most of the time, not to mention holes in the drywall, banana stuck to the living room wall, you name it. Recently my husband’s “friend”, who used to live in this house with him before he married me, visited and started giving him a hard time about how we’ve “let the place go to pot”. It infuriated both of us, because most of our budget recently has gone towards replacing major appliances. She is single with no kids and makes a lot of money. She also has no problem carrying credit card debt, something we will not give in to. So, apples and oranges, but it did make me self-conscious about my house.

    That’s why I’m spackling and painting the bathroom this weekend :)

  95. Whitney says

    Don’t feel bad at all. It took me three YEARS to finish up my last house. I constantly had people asking me if I was done yet, people who would talk about how they redid their floors in two weekends. I started feeling bad until I realized that some of them worked from home, had smaller homes than me, had spouses helping them or had hired workers to do it, not to mention they had homes that were easy to work with because they were only a decade old at most and mine was bordering half a century.

    I went without floors in my house for months because my old floors were such a huge mess it took that long to 1. rip them all out (several layers of messed up laminate under tile, carpet and tack strips with masonry nails in them, and some sort of flooring anyone has yet to be able to identify.) After that I had to back fill several square feet with mortar and shape it into steps for a step down living room, then accept that I couldnt tile and had to do floating floors. From there I had just under 1800 sq foot to do all by myself working a full time job and going to school. I often looked back and thought “Its been two years why is everything still a mess!?” Especially looking at blogs.

    But like you I was doing a lot more than just surface work, so it always seemed so slow. Not to mention I was doing most of it alone (by choice most times). Three years later my house turned out wonderful, and I am moving on to my next. Even if you hit year two and you just finish, you are moving quicker than I was haha. Try watching a british show on youtube called restoration home, it shows just how slow moving structure work is and just how long it really can take when you are doing more than cosmetic. Also how much of a difference a ton of money to pay others to do the work can make, or not having to work can make. Not to mention these people are restoring things like castles! So its fun to watch

  96. says

    Love this post and how honest and real it is. It inspires me to do better. And not compare my rate of progress with anyone else’s.

  97. BridgetG says

    “. . . comparison is a thief. It steals our joy.” Good one. I’m going to make myself a little poster. Thanks.

  98. Gilmer Gal says

    Kristi, I have been in a newly built home for 6 years and it isn’t near what I want it to be. I know what you mean by comparison stealing your contentment. Every time I do something to the house, I see a photo by someone else that I think did a better job. Your house will get there. Anyway, we love to take the adventure with you!

  99. says

    Late to the comments here but I wanted you to know that I read your post and thought it was so great. It’s refreshing to read a real life post. I read a lot of blogs and have a small hobby blog myself. When I see what others have or are doing and am often baffled at how they get it done so fast or where all the money comes from. I try not to compare myself or the state of our house because I’ll just get sad about it instead I embrace the fact that this is our forever home and there are a lot of projects, rooms and landscaping that need tending. But we have time and I am enjoying the process one step or project at a time.
    So I guess I just wanted to say that I enjoy your blog so very much. You inspire me. You are an incredibly hard worker and a talented designer and that you really should be proud of what you have accomplished in your house in a short period of time. Remember this is your forever home and you have all the time in the world to get it they way you and Matt want it. Cheers.

  100. says

    I have recently noticed that am suffering from comparison issues myself. Each time I “complete” a room in my house I am so excited about it, until I get on Pinterest,or open a decor magazine. With a new build home you’d think I would easily shut up and count my blessings, and while I do appreciate all that I have, I can’t help wishing I’d have made this or that decision differently while building. Ah! I’m so glad I’m not the only one suffering from this! Great entry!

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